The best restaurants in Dar es Salaam

By 14:01

I’m back in Dar es Salaam and I’m loving Tanzania a bit more this time around. It might have to do with knowing the place a bit better. Either way, I’ve been staying Seacliff which is an 5 star resort situated on a cliff. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much considering I prefer a beach side resort to a cliff but it’s pretty cool to be able to wake up to the sights and sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks below. This time around I spent more time exploring some of the top restaurants Dar has to offer.

Karembezi CafĂ© is the Seacliff hotel's restaurant that sits on the cliff with amazing views while it’s still bright outside. The house music gives this place a great party vibe or the perfect place to sip cocktails at. At night, the bottom of the cliff is lit up so you watch the waves and get lost in the sounds of the ocean. It’s a pretty vibey joint as the bar, food and view calls people over to chill. Even on a week night, it’s packed!

Right next door to the Seacliff hotel is Seacliff Village which boasts many stores and ATMs but mostly it’s a place to chill at one of their restaurants. There’s a wide variety of choice from South African favourites like Spur to quaint little coffee shops. The Fishmonger, despite it's name, is an upmarket seafood restaurant. It’s a pity that although this is right by the sea there isn’t an ocean view to check out however the food is of top quality. You should definitely try the platter for one – the lobster, calamari rings and prawns are perfectly cooked. Ask for their version of tartare sauce – it’s a garlic mayo sauce. Mix it with a little bit of their fiery chilli sauce and you’ve got an awesome meal.

If a view is what you're after, there is no better view than the one Cape Town Fish Market has. This is considered the place to be in Dar and I actually think this is better than any of their franchises in South Africa. This restaurant is situated on the banks of Oyster Bay and has views all around the affluent Msanani and Masaki regions. The bay is mesmerising and every so often there are sail boats out and even little sea creatures running about on the shore. At night, the coastline is lit up and the restaurant's blue and white decor gives off a relaxed beachside ambience. The food is delicious and I'd go as far as calling it one of the finer dining spots in town.

Another restaurant around the Msanani Bay is The Waterfront. It's located at Slipway which is a centre with a number of restaurants and market stalls. You have to get to the Waterfront during sunset - it is absolutely breathtaking to watch the skies above the bay turn all shades of orange as day turns to night. Unlike the other restaurants listed above, this one has a few Zanzibari dishes. As much as I'm not a fan of Tanzanian cuisine, I really like the spicy flavours of Zanzibari food.

Trinity Bar and Lounge is a relaxing joint to chill with friends for a drink. The food is average but I really like the beach bar vibe with the thatched roof and all that natural greenery outside that hasn't been paved yet.

For those in the mood for cocktails, Newscafe is all about the vibe. It pains me to convert the prices to Rands as the food and drinks are easily 3 times the amount you'd pay in SA but I suppose this is the case all over Africa. This is the only place in Dar that I know of that has a big range of the designer cocktails I'm used to. Like all Newscafes, the food is average as people are there mostly for the drinks. The ambience is perfect for a party atmosphere. 

Samaki Samaki in Mlimani City has a cute name. It's directly translated from Swahili to mean Fish Fish. They serve all sorts of seafood and they happen to be the resident watering hole. After work, people line up at the bar counters around the tiny restaurant for a beer while catching a game of sport. I love the rustic wooden decor - chairs look like tree stumps. I tried a local fish which was delicious but I have now learnt the lesson of ordering a fillet next time as the local fish have long sharp bones that you only seem to notice in your mouth.

I saved my favourite for last: Alcove. I generally pick the best restaurant within a centre to talk about and although Karembezi makes it to the list from Seacliff, I have to add in Alcove as well. They serve Indian/Chinese cuisine and it's quite a formal setting. The food is absolutely divine. I've only ever had one average dish there - the dal makhani but if you enjoy Indian cuisine, you'll love every other dish you order.

If you think I'm missing a good spot, let me know and I'll make sure I try it on my next visit.

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